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More Confused Than Ever


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I've been reading posts and various reviews for about eight hours throughout the past two days and am now more confused than ever. I'm looking to buy my first GPS unit for geocaching but also want to be able to use it for motorcycle trips. After reading the many threads on buying... I thought I was sold on the Garmin 60C, but now the more I read the more I wonder if I would be just as well off with a lower-end model.

 

I'm drawn to the 60C for it's features, especially the specific geocaching mode, but am hesitant since ~$350 for the unit plus ~$100 for the City Select software is more than I initially wanted to spend.

 

Is there a lower-end model (or something that combines good mapping software) out there that I should be considering that has a specific geocaching mode (maybe that's not even necessary to record cache finds/details?) and is still good for mapping out mostly small trips and maybe a couple longer trips (multi-state) a year for less money than the 60C? I'd like to get trip info that avoids highways. Color is prefered, but only cuz I haven't seen many units firsthand and think it would help for clarity. I can't find anybody that carries anything other than the Legend in my area, not even my local Best Buy.

 

Please know that I'd appreciate any responses even though I know you get a million newbs asking, "What's the best GPS for me?" :)

 

Thanks very much for your time,

--Mike

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You don't need the geocaching mode, in fact I hardly ever use it because I use more than one icon type for geocaches.

 

However the 60C line does autorouting on the GPS. That in itself is worth the price. We used ours to get to San Antonio last weekend. We detoured around a 6 mile construction zone and the GPS took us on backroads back to were we wanted to go with no problems.

 

I have a Vista and a 60CS. I don't know anyone who has a GPSMAP 60 that doesn't like it. Very good unit.

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MeanStreaker

 

First, welcome to the recreational activity/sport/hobby/addiction. Second, thanks for a thoughtful version of "what GPS to get." It is worth answering the question when someone explains their issues as well as you did.

 

I went through the same thought process as you, and ended up with the 60C and City Select (and later, Topo USA) and have been extremely happy. I use Geocaching mode sometimes when I am after several caches in a single day, but I would say that the feature is really unnecessary. At most, it saves a few keystrokes.

 

I really can't speak too well about other models, but I'll mention that there is a small but growing fan club of Lowrance owners that may suggest an alternative. The Magellan Explorist 500 and 600 models would also be comparable, but I don't like their rechargable battery feature. I prefer being able to carry a couple of spare AA batteries when I'm out in the field.

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Not knowing how much you would like to spen makes it hard to make a suggestion.

 

Some options would be

 

Garmin GPS V which I have seen others recomend, $250.00 and it includes the software, it has a monochrome screen though

 

Magellan Meridain gold $200.00 and you can find Map send direct route software for a little under $100.00, it also has a monochrome screen though.

 

For a color screen on a budget Costco has the Magellan sport track color for $200.00 and again you can find the Map send direct route software for a little under $100.00,

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Thanks for the replies so far, folks. I appreciate you taking the time. I've been looking at the GPS V and Meridian Gold/Platinum units but am pretty ignorant on comparing/contrasting the features. I've been drawn to the GPSMap 60C since I've read such great reviews on this forum and GPSInformation.org about it being an "all purpose GPS" which is what I would like.

 

As for the cost, I'm flexible and would easily spend a little extra if it's warranted. My reason for posting was to explore if I'd be just as happy with a GPS V or even something cheaper than that for general geocaching and mapping trips as I would be with the (seemingly) superior 60C for my novice purposes. Any more thoughts? Thanks.

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I am also a motorcyclist and was happy with the Vista for years until I saw "autorouting" and just had to have a 60cs. That function, especially the automatic "recalculating" when I take an unsuggested turn, makes the system incredibly convenient and "hands free". I don't even bother creating "routes" on a PC anymore, instead I just spicify a destination waypoint and let the unit calculate an "on road" route. Try it, you'll love it.

 

PS, some good handlebar mounts are available but I prefer sticking it in a pocket and saving the sunlight "wear and tear" on the screen.

 

Enjoy :)

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Hi,

 

We do use our 60 cs since a year, it's incredible... the recalculating mode, the accuracy and many other feature (including memory....) are great. The geocaching mode is easy to use and allow us to change symbol take some note on site. On the route before cahching or just travelling showed us everything we need to know, beep to advise turns in advance and just before (a longer beep) to catch our attention and we also did bought a mount to put it in the car window allowing us to use it handfree (or almost) Anyway i do have to say that I am more then please with that model :)

good day

Smirnoff team

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[magellan hat on]

I agree that the MeriColor is a nice unit for the price if you want color. I,too, would recomend the Sportrak Color; onboard barometer and compass (for the often debated weather screen), nice bright screen, good sat accuracy.

 

I'm sure you've been on gpsinformation.net before, but here's the direct link to their ST color review.

 

If you decided that color was no big deal, then MeriGold or Sportrak Pro would be good lower-price choices. The difference to me would be if you wanted to store large maps; since there's no memory card slot on the STP, you'd have to live with the smaller regions you could fit on thei nternal memory. Not a big deal 90% of the time, but that 3-day road trip won't fit on the STP.

 

[/magellan hat]

 

-p

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I am also a motorcyclist and was happy with the Vista for years until I saw "autorouting" and just had to have a 60cs. That function, especially the automatic "recalculating" when I take an unsuggested turn, makes the system incredibly convenient and "hands free"...

Just so I'm sure, the "autorouting" is available in the 60C and not just the 60CS, right?

 

I also plan on keeping the unit in a pocket or sissy bar bag as I've heard too many horror stories about a handlebar mount giving in and losing your GPS.

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Yes, Autorouting is on the 60C as well - the 60CS simply has the added compass and barometer, otherwise they are the same model.

 

If you're planning on putting the unit in your pocket, you'll need to look at investing more money in an external antenna. Even with the antenna, if the GPSr isn't in viewing distance then the autorouting is going to be a pretty worthless feature. Sure, it will track where you are but taking it out of your pocket to see "yeah, I should have turned right about 10 miles back" defeats the purpose. On a bike, you're definately not going to hear the audio tones warning you about upcoming turns, etc. You'd need to be able to visually see the turns (the screen changes and tells you about the turn).

 

Check out section 18 - you'll want to be able to see the first two images. The direction box at the top also flashes red and white to catch your eye.

 

There has to be some way to secure the device. Maybe use something like the marine mount and secure it to the bike on something other than the handle bars, then use some sort of webbing or bungie cabling to ensure the device doesn't pop off the mount with the vibrations? You also might check into a third party company like RAM to see if they have a better bike solution.

Edited by TeamShamrock
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I am also a motorcyclist and was happy with the Vista for years until I saw "autorouting" and just had to have a 60cs. That function, especially the automatic "recalculating" when I take an unsuggested turn, makes the system incredibly convenient and "hands free". I don't even bother creating "routes" on a PC anymore, instead I just spicify a destination waypoint and let the unit calculate an "on road" route. Try it, you'll love it.

 

PS, some good handlebar mounts are available but I prefer sticking it in a pocket and saving the sunlight "wear and tear" on the screen.

 

Enjoy :)

What's this "sunlight wear and tear"?

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I have the Garmin eTrex Vista C. GREAT Machine!

 

It does routing and automatic recalulation and does have geocahcing mode. See Vista C. I bought mine at GPS Explorer. They currently have them for $284.95 after a $50 rebate. You will also need either City Select or City Navigator for the mapping software. Both work fine with the Vista C and both do auto-routing.

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You ought to look into RAM mounts. I went through several cheap mounts until I go the RAM. I would trust their handlebar mount more than I would a pocket!

 

I have a handlebar bracket on my bicycle, and a suction cup on my windshield. The arm and the cradle go back and forth. GPSCity has a good selection of RAM parts.

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Sputnik, you may have anwered this elsewhere, if so I apologize. With the 60C, you said it can load both the City Select and Topo software. Now I realize you can't use both at the same time, but is switching back and forth between them a problem? And are waypoints entered in through, say GSAK, displayed on both types of maps?

 

Also, as a refugee of magellan's abyssmal products, one thing I have noted with the Sportrak Map is the map itself is always at least 100 feet displaced from my actual position. Is this a problem with the 60C and associated software?

 

Last question. Amazon has the 60C priced at $315. This seems to be the lowest price I have found so far through bizrate and others. Should I go with this or is there someplace else you could suggest.

 

Thanks for your time. (BTW, any replies from any other 60C owners would be appreciated.)

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Sputnik, you may have anwered this elsewhere, if so I apologize. With the 60C, you said it can load both the City Select and Topo software. Now I realize you can't use both at the same time, but is switching back and forth between them a problem? And are waypoints entered in through, say GSAK, displayed on both types of maps?

 

Switching back and forth is easy. Press menu, Scroll down to "setup map" and turn off the City Select maps. then topo maps will show up. All your waypoints will show up.

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Sputnik, you may have anwered this elsewhere, if so I apologize.  With the 60C, you said it can load both the City Select and Topo software.  Now I realize you can't use both at the same time, but is switching back and forth between them a problem?  And are waypoints entered in through, say GSAK, displayed on both types of maps?

 

Also, as a refugee of magellan's abyssmal products, one thing I have noted with the Sportrak Map is the map itself is always at least 100 feet displaced from my actual position.  Is this a problem with the 60C and associated software?

 

Last question.  Amazon has the 60C priced at $315.  This seems to be the lowest price I have found so far through bizrate and others.  Should I go with this or is there someplace else you could suggest.

 

Thanks for your time.  (BTW, any replies from any other 60C owners would be appreciated.)

As CenTexDodger says, its easy. More info (with a screen shot) is at questions 7, 8 and 9 in the Maps Section of the FAQ. Waypoints will show up on any maps you display, as long as you are zoomed in close enough. You can change the zoom level at which they show up if the "auto" setting isnt to your liking.

 

I have found the 60C maps to be spot on. It shows me on the right side of a small divided road in my neighborhood. If you zoom in really close, the cursor marking your position is surrounded by an error circle, which gives you the approximate position error, based upon the map you have and your satellite coverage. You know that you are very likely somewhere in that circle, and usually near the center of it.

 

From reports on the forum today, $315 sounds like an awesome price for the 60C. A quick check on Froogle shows $354 as about the best price they could find today. Amazon has a good reputation too.

Edited by Sputnik 57
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... Last question. Amazon has the 60C priced at $315. This seems to be the lowest price I have found so far through bizrate and others. ...

I looked around for quite awhile and couldn't find anything to beat the Amazon price for the 60C. I just placed my order. Thanks to everyone for your help! We're looking forward to receiving it!

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I just bought a "gently used" Meridian series off of e-bay from a guy who still had 1.25 years left of his 2 year best buy warranty... It was an incredible deal, and since I'm a newbie, I was leary about setting down $300. My Meridian platinum came with software for less than $200.

 

My friend has a color Meridian, but it's not value add in my opinion. Base your buy on features, but consider that you will most likely only use 1 or 2 of them primarily. My firend got the color because he will need it mostly at night - the B&W can be more difficult to see. Also, if you will use if for other sports - size, weight, etc come into play.

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The "sunlight wear and tear" was just a reference to the deterioration of the LCD over time if exposed to direct sunlight excessively. Some folks prefer handlebar mounts and I am probably overly protective of this possible screen deterioration.

 

I keep my 60CS in my front pocket with the antenna up.. it keeps good tracking and the "beeps" approaching turns are loud enough to be noticible unless Im in traffic. Of course, I am sensitive to the beeps when approaching intersections out in the country anyway. It's not a big deal to pull the unit out and take a peek at times either.

 

Its an amazing piece of technology and quite useful after blasting through the mountains for a few hours when I really need to figure out which way gets me back toward civilazation :unsure:

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Garmin GPS V which I have seen others recomend, $250.00 and it includes the software, it has a monochrome screen though

Check Target out. Some stores have the Garmin GPS V Auto Pack on clearance for $210. I just picked one up tonight. The kit contains the following:

 

GPS V -- City Select NA v6 -- PC cable -- car mount -- 12VDC cable -- video

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